Sunday, May 19, 2024

Famed Songwriter Carole Bayer Sager Welcomes A List to Book Party: “Songwriting Saved Me”


Last night on Park Avenue, the elite met for the first time in a while. Our hosts: music industry lawyer Allen Grubman and his wife real estate broker to the stars Deborah. The honoree: everyone’s Yoda from Los Angeles, the great songwriter Carole Bayer Sager.

What has Carole written or co-written? How about Dionne Warwick and pals’ “That’s What Friends Are For,” Leo Sayer’s “When I Need You,” Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better,” Melissa Manchester’s “Midnight Blue” and “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald’s “On My Own” — and that’s the tip of the iceberg.

So into the Grubman aerie assembled a stellar group including Clive Davis, Candice Bergen, Norman Pearlstine, Bob Balaban and wife Lynn, Alan and Arlene Alda, Lorne Michaels, Alanna Stewart, Bryant and Hilary Gumbel, super agents Lynn Nesbitt and Amanda Urban, Cindy Adams, Peggy Siegal, and Harvey Weinstein– just to name a few, plus Carole’s husband, Bob Daly, who used to run Warner Bros. You’re getting the picture.

The Grubmans even supplied a piano and pianist so we could listen to Carole Bayer Sager songs live.

Here’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a book party– the guests were walking off with books and starting to read them on the premises. You see, besides writing all those songs, Carole was married to Burt Bacharach and had a thing with Marvin Hamlisch. She was present when the idea of Bette Midler was born, co-wrote “A Groovy Kind of Love” with Toni Wine (a hit twice– for the Mindbenders and for Phil Collins), and just went on from success to success in Hollywood. Her book is called “They’re Playing Our Song”– the title of her hit 1978 musical with Hamlisch and Neil Simon (Lucie Arnaz and Robert Klein starred). But it could also be “You’ll Never Sing in This Town Again.” She knows everything.

I am reading it as we speak.

To the assembled crowd Carole said that she’d had a rough earlier life, but that “Songwriting saved my life.” Carole is so attractive that people used to mistake her for Elizabeth Taylor. Someone asked her last night  why she looked so good. “The music keeps you young,” she said.

PS I figured the Grubmans gave the party because Carole is one of Allen’s long time clients. “She’s not even my client! ” Allen said. “We’re just friends.” They still have those things, you know. Nice.



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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